My Open Letter to Veterans with PTSD

If I could tell you anything it would be that you are not alone. PTSD can make us feel very alone and painfully sad. Our family members and friends may not understand. We may have even pushed away our loved ones. We believe that our behaviors/symptoms are permanent. When we believe that, we feel hopeless, overwhelmed and discouraged about the future. No matter what your current situation is or how bad things seem to be please understand that there is help and solutions for you.

As you know many veterans may choose to end their own lives but I don’t want that for you. If you are a veteran you are braver than I ever could be. You have been through war, pain and hardships. War is a traumatic event and your mind and body are adjusting to life after war. Remember that it is normal for humans to respond to trauma in the same way. It isn’t a character defect and it says nothing about who you are as a person. It is a response. It would actually be abnormal to go through war and not experience any after affects. PTSD is a result of severe stress.

If your reading this know that you and your life still have value. There are people that love and care about you. They would be lost without you and your love and guidance. They understand that you are adjusting to civilian life. They understand that you have been through a lot, particularly with your emotions. Remember that PTSD is a treatable condition. Therapy and possibly medication can help tremendously in your journey for change. There is nothing wrong with therapy. There is nothing wrong with wanting to work on issues that are affecting you and wanting better for yourself. In fact, a few of the highest functioning people I know go to therapy on a regular basis.

My goal is to keep you safe. At times when emotions seem high and solutions seem bleak. As a veteran you are at a very high risk for suicide. I’d like to share a portion of a great article I found on Help Guide called “Are you feeling suicidal?”

“If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it is not that other solutions don’t exist, but rather that you are currently unable to see them. The intense emotional pain that you’re experiencing right now can distort your thinking so it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support. Although it might seem as if your pain and unhappiness will never end, it is important to realize that crisis are usually temporary. Solutions are often found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.”

To continue with safety please follow the following measures:

1. If you are suicidal and feel that you are in immediate danger (with a plan, intent and the means) please contact the suicide hotline listed on this site. IF you are unable to get ahold of someone please call 911 and explain the emergency

2. If you are not in immediate danger please talk to your primary physician and ask them for assistance in getting into therapy. If that process is going to take a lengthy amount of time you can always seek out a therapist and pay out of pocket to get treatment started in the meantime.

3. Restrict access to lethal means: Please have your firearm kept in a safe place that is not with you if you are feeling suicidal. Please remove all items that you can hurt yourself with including ropes, knives, pills, etc.

4. Refrain from any alcohol or drug use. These substances can cloud your judgement and limit your insight making you susceptible to harming yourself.

5. PTSD is not a sign of weakness. There are individuals that are very intelligent, strong and successful that are responding to trauma. It is not a character flaw.

6. Know that there is help. Your mind and body are responding to trauma. Take the time to get help and make things better.

I want to end by saying THANK YOU for your service. I know that you probably hear that so often but know that you are the bravest of the brave. I don’t know many people that could make that sacrifice and I truly thank you. I thank your family as well for living without you for a period of time. I truly wish the best to you and your treatment. You are an American hero and I could never thank you enough.



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